OK – Here is why I am excited about NBC’s new series Emerald City
Right off the bat, the show is pretty dark, like too dark for children. There is no singing and dancing down the yellow brick road. Dorothy is not the wide-eyed teen that Judy Garland made famous. Instead she is riddled with self-doubt and has obvious commitment issues. There are no tiny Munchkins in this Oz, here they are oppressed arctic tribal people. The Wizard of Oz is a puritanical dictator and the Witches seem quite sadistic. The mentions of “the Beast” are almost apocryphal and make it seem as if Oz is on the brink of an apocalypse. You might think a dark plot with a semi-tortured heroine wouldn’t be entertaining anymore, but I like where this one is going…..
Emerald City has something for every geeky heart! For me, the visual aspects are the main attraction. This show is stunning. The story line has several different veins, each with its own central figure or group of people and each has been thoughtfully developed with different landscape, architecture and costumes. Oh, THE COSTUMES. Dramatic, mesmerizing, intricate costumes. Let’s take the Mistress of the East’s costume (aka Wicked Witch of the East)…it is fierce and breathtaking. She steps on screen and you know she is a powerful force and a witch not to be messed with.
The cinematography of these first episodes has been captivating on its own, without overly relying on CGI effects. The common theme across all the different places in OZ is a surrealism that is achieved with color choices of the set, shot angles and lighting. You feel like you are watching a really intense, crazy dream unfold. I’m definitely loving this dreamy show and can’t wait to see how it unfolds.